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Jerusalem Archaeological Park
The Temple Mount walls
 
Site 9: Robinson's Arch

Near the southwest corner of the Temple Mount, a few building stones project from the face of the wall, beginning with the eleventh course above the ancient street level. These stones were part of a tremendous arch, rather a broad vault, supported on one side by the Western Wall and on the other by a pier built of large Herodian ashlars with typical drafted margins. The four square recesses opening onto the street, visible in the pier, were probably shops. The paved street ran beneath the arch.


The arch is named after the American Bible scholar Edward Robinson, who first identified it in 1839. For a long time, scholars thought that Robinson's Arch was the easternmost in a series of seven or eight similar arches supporting a bridge over the Tyropoeon Valley, linking the Upper City to the Temple Mount.
The archaeological excavations of 1968�1977, directed by Benjamin Mazar, first disproved the theory of the bridge. Later, evidence was found that the arch had in fact spanned over the paved street; remains were also found at right angles to Robinson's Arch, of a row of smaller vaults, whose height decreased gradually from north to south. One of the piers supporting this row of vaults can be seen near the southwest corner of the Temple Mount (see Tour 1, Site 11). This row of vaults, together with Robinson's Arch, supported a monumental flight of steps, which led from the street to the Royal Stoa on the Temple Mount. Many stone steps which had originally formed part of this structure, as well as remains of the parapet, were found among the fallen stones on the paved street (see Tour 1, Site 6). The monumental staircase was described by Josephus in Antiquities Book 15, Chapter 11).
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